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Gymnast Miller's past trauma fuels Olympic dream

05 August 2016, 11:23

Rio de Janeiro - Australian gymnast Larrissa Miller spoke Thursday of how an abusive past had made her stronger as she heads into her second Olympics in Rio.

The 24-year-old from Queensland was sexually abused by an extended family member from the age of five to 16 years.

She finally sought help and her abuser was jailed in May 2015.

Also read: Rio Olympics: Etebo’s double brace put Nigeria past Japan

"Once I went through everything that I went through, and all that stuff like the court process was done, I felt free and more comfortable within myself," said Miller ahead of the start her new campaign Sunday at the Rio Olympic Arena.

"You don't know what freedom is until you've felt it, and that was what it was like for me. It was such an incredible feeling."

Miller, a double silver medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the team and uneven bars, said the relief she has felt has been overwhelming, allowing her to focus on her second Olympics after London.

"I still have days where it's hard, but people around me know, too, and I've got so much support," said Miller, an ambassador for Bravehearts, a child protection organisation.

"Before, I just held it all inside and I was going through it alone. I felt really heavy. It's definitely a light feeling.

"I don't think it's really a distraction promoting strong mental health, because you need that for gymnastics anyway.

"But my focus now is definitely more on gymnastics. I've come here to do my job but then, when I go home, I can be more involved in that."

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